Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!
Will Beauty Wake?
He would want that, to wake beauty, to see her stir in the crumpled comfort of her soft duvet.243 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)
He would want that, this season, the one on the rise, wintry, the chill snaking down his spine, the warmth of his love for her, the desire to tell mankind that all is well, all is well.
He would want that.
But he breathes out, his arms sag, his eyes see what there is in the world, what there should be but isn’t, what could be, but can’t be, what will be, but, likely, won’t be.
He feels the bite of reality in his face, icicles of despair, hanging from the sags of time.
He does not want that.
He shivers with remorse for having such thoughts. This is not the way he would want it to be. In his mind, he struggles to find the joy that he is absolutely convinced was once there.
He was a younger man then.
The joy was there.
The beauty flourished.
The sun shone. It warmed him.
They would sit by the winter fire and bask in its heat.
They would toast the day.
They would praise the past.
They would glory in the future.
They would want the future.
But he was a younger man then.
She, a younger woman.
The world, its darkness then, it could be ignored.
Now, illusions are gone.
And beauty sleeps, ne’er to awake.
“This is one of Wardda’s boxes,” Countess Caroline enunciated each word disdainfully. “Mine are much lighter and more refreshing.”
The old woman glowered across the elegant old sitting room. Kerri curtsied apologetically, inspiring her friend, Mirro, to do the same.
“I’m sorry, Countess. I’ll bring one of your boxes right away.”
“Take Wardda’s box and a bowl with you when you check on her. You will need them.”
Kerri accepted the box from the old shrike’s taloned knobby hand. It was true, she hadn’t seen Wardda since the previous night. She probably hadn’t escaped but could become harder to control if she hadn’t eaten.
Mirro accompanied Kerri to the kitchen, where she fetched a fine porcelain bowl. Kerri showed Frank which box to take to the countess and the girls proceeded upstairs to Wardda’s room. Mirro held the bowl so Kerri could knock.
“Five more minutes!” a groggy voice groaned from beyond the door.
“I brought you something to eat. I’m coming in.”
Kerri opened the door into the suffocating scent of rose petal vinegar. Wardda was indolently entangled in the sheets and pillows on her four-poster bed, as young and beautiful as ever. The sleepy beauty turned her dark eyes on the girls.
“Oh,” Wardda licked her lips. “How exquisite!”
Her grin spread, revealing inhumanly sharp canines, as she craned her neck. By the time Kerri realized Wardda’s attention was on Mirro, the woman’s head had detached from her shoulders to circle the smaller girl, dangling her dripping lungs, stomach, and intestines. Kerri produced her wand as Wardda opened her jaws to bite.
“No! She’s my friend! This! This is what I brought you to eat!” Kerri waved the box of blood.
“My name’s Mirro,” Kerri’s friend presented Wardda’s bowl with an airy smile.
“Oh,” Wardda deflated.299 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)